The new Editor-in-Chief describes her vision for the Journal.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

“Materials is Life.” Those words are written in big cutout letters surrounded by colorful atoms and crystalline lattices on a piece of artwork given to me last Christmas by my 13-year old daughter. I could not agree more. Progress in materials science and engineering has played a decisive role in transforming breakthrough scientific ideas into exciting discoveries and next-generation technologies that both revolutionize our daily life and influence the development of society.

Historically, optics and materials science have been separate disciplines where scientists spoke different languages. My group’s first contributions bringing the words “ceramic materials” and “doped semiconductor oxides” into the area of plasmonics dominated by gold and silver were rejected even as conference papers. And a friendly comment I received after my seminar on plasmonic materials at one of the elite physical technical schools was “it is indeed interesting but this is not physics.”

In his book The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation however, Jon Gertner says: “The … age of technologies owed its existence to a quiet revolution in materials. Indeed, without new materials … the actual physical inventions of the period might have been impossible” [1]. Materials give life to physics, which otherwise risks being “trapped in a prison of theory.” Several recent Nobel Prizes in Physics, including those for optical fibers, graphene and blue light emitting diodes, serve as evidence of the tremendous impact materials engineering has on advancing science and new technologies.

As the new Editor-in-Chief of Optical Materials Express (OMEx) I am excited to begin a new adventure and I will gladly step up to the challenge of merging optics, materials science, and related disciplines. I am taking over a relatively new journal that has been successfully brought up to speed with current developments by David Hagan, and I am humbled and honored to serve as the next EiC. Since my research portfolio is at the intersection of nanophotonics and material engineering, I believe that my interdisciplinary expertise will help me bring the journal to the next level by promoting multidisciplinary interactions and expertise exchange. My objective is to actively engage in cross-disciplinary conversations and reach out to various communities; to engage both optics researchers and those from the materials community with the goal of building upon its existing strengths and making OMEx a prime, “go-to” journal for rapid, wide dissemination of exciting discoveries, new phenomena, and novel applications.

As a niche yet cross-disciplinary journal, OMEx represents an important, complementary player among the other OSA journals. The Journal has inherited from Optics Express the successful concept of being all-electronic and Open-Access. This will continue to play an important role in promoting OMEx as a journal of choice for optical and materials researchers worldwide for the rapid publication of results at the intersection of optics, materials, chemistry, biology and computational physics.

I would like to strengthen the existing coverage of OMEx as well as attract researchers working in emerging areas. I aim to focus on new, hot topics and highlight important developments and evolving technologies, as well as reinforce underrepresented areas such as computational optical materials research, packaging challenges, thin films for optical applications, quantum optics on the nanoscale, photonics at high-temperature, and optics for extreme operating conditions.

With the rapidly expanding knowledge base and our growing capability to develop, design and realize ever-increasingly complex systems, there is a critical need for scientists and engineers with multidisciplinary training. Here, I believe that OMEx should play an active role in educating the next generation of scientists and engineers who have both optical and materials backgrounds.

To sum up, I am excited to lead OMEx and to join the dynamic OSA publishing team. I look forward to all the exciting new developments and challenges that we will encounter on our way, and I invite all of you to actively participate and experience the growth together.

Alexandra Boltasseva

Editor-in-Chief, Optical Materials Express

Purdue University

References and links

1. J. Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (Penguin Press, 2012).


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  1. J. Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (Penguin Press, 2012).

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J. Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (Penguin Press, 2012).

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